Getting accepted at your favourite university is not enough to study abroad. The most crucial stage of your entire study abroad process is the visa application. Applying for a student visa can be a tedious process. Moreover, the visa interview is the last step in your journey to study in the US and an essential step. At the time of your interview, you are required to carry all the necessary documents required for a student visa in the USA. Your visa documents for the US will speak for you, and importantly, all your documents required for the US F-1 visa interview are flawless!
If you are planning to apply for a USA student visa, it is crucial for you to know about the whole process. With Yocket Premium, you not only get your profile built by our top-of-the-field counsellors but Yocket also has a proven record of 98% visa success rate and has helped thousands of students realise their dream of studying abroad. Explore Yocket Premium today and get ready for the smoothest visa ride with the guidance of experienced counsellors.
Keep reading to learn more about the list of documents required for a US visa interview, the process, and the journey ahead.
Overview of the US Student Visa Interview Process
After receiving an acceptance letter from your university or college in the US, you will receive the I-20 form in order to start your F-1 student visa process. The US student visa interview is a personal interview wherein you will be asked about your intent to study in the US, along with other things like your academic background, financial capability, etc.
Getting the required visa documents for a US visa should be one’s top priority while applying for a student visa to study abroad.
The US embassy visa appointment and interview process has recently been split to 2 days. The first day is when you get your photo and fingerprints taken. The second day is the day of your interview.
What Is an F-1 Visa in USA?
An F-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows foreign nationals to enter the United States temporarily for the purpose of full-time academic study at accredited colleges, universities, seminaries, conservatories, academic high schools, or language training programs.
The length of your stay as an F-1 student will change depending on the course you choose. Your program's expiration date will be listed on the I-20 form that the university you want to attend will provide. The specified expiration date must be met for you to receive your degree, and this will provide you with an overview of how long you will be able to remain in the US.
Suggested: Difference b/w J1 & F1 Visa
US F-1 Visa Requirements
If you intend to apply for an F-1 student visa, there are a few rules you should be aware of. These conditions must be fulfilled for your application to be approved:
- Institution certification: SEVP Immigration & Customs Enforcement must approve the college or university where you intend to study.
- Enrollment requirements: During the academic semester, you have to be enrolled full-time as a student at the university.
- English language proficiency: You must enrol in classes that will help you get better at the language or meet the institution's requirements for English language proficiency.
- Sufficient funding: You must demonstrate that you have the money necessary to pay for both your living expenses and your education while you are in the US.
- Valid passport: You must have a passport that will allow you to travel to the US for at least six months following the end of your program.
- Residency in your home nation: After completing your degree, you must be able to return to your native country.
List of Documents Required for F-1 Visa Interview
Moving on to the most essential part i.e. documents required for visa USA. This section will make you acquainted with the F-1 visa documents checklist, and the various types of documents required for US student visa.
We have categorised these types of documents required for student visa USA into 5 major categories. Let us thoroughly know about the US F1 visa documents checklist below:
Set 1: Mandatory Documents Required for Student Visa USA
- Copy of interview appointment letter
- DS-160 Confirmation Barcode printout
- Original, valid Axis or Citi Bank VISA fee receipt (Applicant’s Copy)
- Original I-20, approved and signed by you and the University authority
- SEVIS Fee Receipt
- Birth Certificate
Set 2: List of Academic Documents Required for Visa USA
- Original degree certificates (Bachelors / Masters) / Provisional Degree Certificates
- Original mark sheets (10th and 12th standard, first year bachelors to date)
- Provisional mark sheet for any pending results
- Original mark sheets (diploma), original diploma transcripts (stamped and sealed), and original diploma certificate
- Original Extra- curricular / curricular activity certificates
- Original scholarship certificates / awards (if any)
- Original Certificates showing professional courses / examinations done along with marksheets
- Copies of your research work / project
- Relevant test scores, e.g. TOEFL and SAT, GRE, GMAT or LSAT in Original.
- Bonafide certificate from college (if degree is not received )
Set 3: Financial documents required for F1 visa interview
- Original Affidavit of Support from Sponsor/s dated 4-5 days before visa interview date.
- Authentic and Original C.A. statement showing summary of fixed and liquid assets dated 4-5 days before visa interview date.
- Original and valuation documents for every item stated in the C.A. statement as proof.
- Original Evidence of financial resources: Proof of liquid assets sufficient to pay for the entire first year of education and living expenses as well as proof of readily available funds to cover the remaining year(s) of studies, dated 3-4 days before visa interview date.
NOTE: The amount should be as per duration of study mentioned in I-20.
- Original Bank statements of Sponsor(s) for the past six months (savings account) OR Original Passbook/s of sponsor/s (savings account) dated 4-5 days before visa interview date.
- Original Income tax papers of Sponsor(s) for the last three years from visa interview date
- Proof of income of sponsor(s) like appointment letter, payslips/salary certificates for past six months from visa interview date (All original)
- Balance sheet of business of last three years from visa interview date (Original)
- Original Proof of all liquid assets declared in C.A. Statement including fixed deposits, shares, PPF, investments and so on
- Original Proof showing amount that can be withdrawn against various liquid assets like shares, LIC Policy, Provident fund etc. (redeemable value), dated 4-5 days before visa interview date.
- Original Letters from respective authorities on their letterhead indicating that items such as mutual funds, shares, PPF, Provident fund, Fixed Deposits, etc are liquid and can be redeemed before maturity date, dated 4-5 days before visa interview date.
- Original Proof of Ownership, agreement of sale, share certificate for all fixed assets declared in C.A. statement.
- Valuation Certificate(s) from Chartered Engineer for every property declared in the C.A. statement in original
Suggested: Financial Planning for Your US Student Visa
Set 4: Documents Related to Other Admits/Rejects
- All acceptance and reject letters from universities applied to in original
- All scholarship/financial aid grant documents received from universities that you have applied to in original
- Complete application packet of university to which you are going (as was submitted to university) like Application Forms, SOP, Recommendation letters, Resume, Financial documents, technical documents and other documents which you had sent to the University.
- Original Admit letter from the university to which you are going to.
- Original Financial Aid Offer Letter from the university to which you are going to.
- Receipt of any advance payment made to the university.
- Copies of any correspondence mails from any professors of the university to which you are going to
Set 5: Work Experience Documents Required for US Student Visa
- For employed students: Original Documents like work experience letters, Recommendations from employers, Pay-slips/salary certificates for the last six months , IT Returns for last 3 years, appointment letters
- Original documents showing body of work accomplished
- Resume showing professional accomplishments
Suggested: When to Apply for an F-1 Student Visa?
Set 6: Biometric Documents Required for F1 Visa USA
- DS-160 confirmation page
- Appointment confirmation page
- Visa application fee receipt
- One photograph (for applicants below 14 years of age)
Suggested: What is the 214 B Visa Rejection?
How to apply for F1 Visa?
Before starting your application for an F-1 visa, you need to do the following:
- Before applying for a visa, be accepted by an institution that has earned SEVP certification. You will receive your I-20 form after you are accepted, which you will need to apply for an F-1 visa.
- Make a SEVIS payment.
- Finalize your application for a DS-160 visa.
- Set up your interview for a visa.
- Show up for your visa interview.
- The information on the F-1 visa for Indian students on Shorelight is helpful if you're applying for an F-1 visa from India.
F-1 Visa Application Process: Step by Step
You will be prepared to finish and submit your application for an F-1 student visa after you have finished these stages.
1. Get Accepted and Get Your I-20
When you are accepted to a US university with SEVP certification, the F-1 student visa application procedure begins. The US government uses SEVP accreditation as evidence that your university is both recognized and adequately resourced to offer you an education.
Your university will provide your I-20 form after you are accepted. This form records your study schedule and offers corroborating details about your visit.
The following information is recorded in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) when your I-20 is issued:
- Your SEVIS ID number
- Your program's start and end dates
- Your intended program of study
- Your funding sources
- Cost of attendance at your school of choice
- Other personal information
Your university provides this information based on what you submit in your university application materials.
As soon as you receive your I-20, make sure all your information is accurate, and then sign at the bottom of the first page. It can take a long time to fix an error on your I-20 and if something is wrong, you may not be granted access to the country. Retain your Form I-20 when you travel to the US. You will need it to enter the US, to work, and for other activities (e.g., getting a US driver’s licence).
2. Pay Your SEVIS Fee
The total cost for your F-1 student visa will be approximately $510, which includes the cost of the visa itself, plus SEVIS processing and maintenance fees.
- Requirements: Your I-20
- Cost: $350 (INR 29,000)
Make sure to save the I-901 SEVIS fee receipt. You will need it for your visa interview.
3. Complete Your DS-160 Visa Application
Your DS-160 is your visa application. All prospective international students must complete DS-160 to receive an F-1 visa.
- Requirements: Your I-20, passport, travel itinerary, and photo for your visa
- Cost: $160 (INR 13,000)
After you successfully submit your DS-160, you will receive a printed confirmation with a barcode on it. Save this form; you will need it for your visa interview.
4. Schedule Your Visa Interview
Find the nearest US embassy or consulate and schedule your visa interview. Wait times will vary by country and can take months, so remember to set up your appointments as early as possible!
5. Attend Your Visa Interview
During the interview portion of the F-1 visa application process, the US consulate or embassy confirms you are coming to study as a legitimate, serious student. In your visa interview, you must also prove that you have the funds to cover your time studying in the US, and confirm that you plan on returning home after your studies are complete. Attending your visa interview in person is required, though there are a few rare exceptions (e.g., if you are younger than 14 or older than 80 years of age, or if you meet certain visa renewal requirements).
- Cost: Your DS-160 payment covers the cost
- Where to apply: Scheduling portal for your visa interview
After you complete your visa interview, you will be granted your F-1 visa and acquire F-1 status. You are now cleared to study in the USA!
You may be nervous about your impending interview as an international student. Although having anxiety is natural, don't forget to breathe deeply and keep in mind that you are well-prepared! Although it's an essential interview, it shouldn't be a stressful one.
ADVICE FOR YOUR VISA INTERVIEW
Your interviewer will probe to ascertain:
- Do you belong as a student?
- Do you possess the funds necessary to pay for your education?
- When you finish your degree, do you intend to go back home?
Questions you might be asked at your F-1 student visa interview
- Why did you pick this university?
- Which other US universities did you apply to?
- How will you pay for your education?
- Do you have relatives in the USA?
- Do you plan to work while in the USA?
- What do you plan to do after graduation?
F-1 Visa Denials
It is possible that your application for an F-1 visa will be rejected. If this occurs, you will receive a written explanation that includes the specific legal provision that prompted the application's denial.
It's crucial that you thoroughly read and adhere to all instructions to prevent having your F-1 student visa application denied. Make sure all of your documents are correct before submitting your application. To make this procedure easier for you, Shorelight advisers can help with visas. They are delighted to help you arrange all the necessary paperwork in the right format and on time.
Recall that you must adequately prove in your F-1 student visa interview that you are coming to the US for academic purposes and that you want to return home after your program is over. Remember this when responding to interview questions.
Maintaining F-1 Visa Status
To continue studying in the US as an international student, you must actively preserve your F-1 status. You have to abide by the rules and regulations of the university as well as the terms and conditions outlined in your F-1 visa requirements to accomplish this.
When entering the US:
- Make sure you arrive in the US no later than 30 days before the start of your program.
- Make immediate contact with your designated school official (DSO) upon arrival in the nation.
- Make another appointment with your DSO before the start date specified on your I-20 form once you've arrived at your university.
While studying in the US:
- Make sure you show up to all of your classes and keep up your grades. Your Shorelight adviser can point you in the direction of academic resources if you need assistance with any of your classes.
- Speak with your DSO to go over your options for potential extensions if you require more time to finish your program than what is stated on your I-20.
- Enrol in a complete course of study as soon as possible throughout your academic term.
- If you want to drop a class or change classes, make sure to speak to your DSO first.
Can F-1 International Students Work in the US?
With an F-1 student visa, you can indeed work in the United States. You will, however, be subject to the following F-1 visa regulations and limitations:
- During the academic period, you can only work part-time on campus.
- The most amount of work you can do in a week is 20 hours.
- With your university's permission, you might be permitted to work off-campus.
- If your university permits it, you will be able to work full-time during the breaks in classes. Visit USCIS.gov to find out more about working as an F-1 international student.
- Make sure you get permission from your DSO before looking for a job while you're a student.
From the Desk of Yocket
In this blog, we have discussed the process of obtaining a US student visa. The US is one of the most popular countries that students choose for a foreign education for various reasons, like the excellent quality of education, career opportunities, high ROI, and others. If you follow the steps mentioned here, your chances of being accepted into an American university will increase.
If you have more questions, make sure to connect with us. Being overwhelmed while taking such a huge step is normal and if you are confused about how to apply for a student visa for the USA, you can connect with Yocket experts for help! With a personal counsellor helping you out with profile building and application processes, Yocket offers personalised services JUST FOR YOU!